Bernabe Spivery, writing in Leadership Magazine (Summer, 1999), recalls watching a leaf-cutter ant carrying a piece of leaf across an old concrete step.
The leaf section was a huge burden for the ant, but it labored on – until it came to a sizable crack in the concrete. He paused. Would the ant turn back? Would he descend into the crack?
As it turned out, he did neither. Instead, the ant maneuvered its leaf into position across the crack, and released it. Then it simply walked across the leaf-bridge to the other side, where it again picked up the leaf piece, and journeyed on its way. This observation caused Spivey to reflect how problems we face today may be building the “character-bridges” we will need to cross the more difficult problems we face down the road of life.
David is the writer of Psalm 86, and it is believed he wrote it during the times of Saul’s persecutions of him. During these years of trial, God was preparing David to one day become Israel’s greatest king. In verse 13, he expressed to God,
“For great is Your mercy toward me, and You have delivered my soul from the depths of hell.”
“Hell” is used metaphorically for great and severe difficulties, that seemed to have no remedy nor end. These trials are figuratively called “hell,” because “hell,” properly taken, is a place from which there is no recovery. When he praised the Lord “for delivering his soul from the lowest hell,” he means a condition on earth of the lowest and deepest problems imaginable. Yet, God’s mercy helped him at his worst, and he now testifies to this fact, realizing such experiences were “character bridges.”
“God will not permit any troubles to come upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty” (Peter Marshall).